The Toronto Botanical Garden might be one of our happiest finds. This new-to-us destination at Lawrence Ave and Leslie Street is now on our visit-often list. And you don’t have to have a green thumb to enjoy it. For us it’s the paths through the four acres of themed gardens that have our little adventurers running, and us returning for more. (By the way, it’s free.)
Open year-round, the area has trails for all lengths of legs and stamina, plus a lot of seating. You can explore the gardens, head down to the adjacent Edward Gardens or take the trail to the Teaching Garden, a fantastic space just for kids. There is also the Wilket Creek Trail, a gorgeous paved path that runs south parallel to Leslie Street.
Be sure to get a Family Discovery Map – easy-to-read for kids eager to lead the way. There is also a Kid Kit – a small backpack with hands-on activities that you can sign out from the visitor information desk.
Getting there: There is ample and free parking onsite. By TTC, from the west take the 54 Lawrence bus from Eglinton West subway station (it turns north on Leslie.) From the east, same bus, get off at Leslie St. The grounds are stroller-friendly but there are some areas with stairs and inclines should you head south towards Edward Gardens and to the Teaching Garden. (You can park along the Bridle Path and avoid the trail if you only want to visit the Teaching Garden.)
Low-down: The gardens are all outdoor and free. Open from dawn to dusk. Check here for their indoor hours.
Potty time: Yes, indoors when facility is open. I’m told there is also one in Edward Gardens, but may be closed during the winter.
Mark your calendars: For family-friendly activities, check out TBGKids‘ free and registered programs. We love the free story time on Mondays in the Weston Family Library (1-3 years-old.) We had a blast digging potatoes and carrots at their annual Harvest Day (free) and plan to check out the annual Halloween Howl ($10).